Caring – the Common Factor
A few weeks ago, I came across this quote: “Every law enforcement agency has one thing in common: they all must be trusted by their community to be effective. That trust is built each day by officers who care for those they serve—officers who are willing to hold themselves and their fellow officers to a high standard of ethics and integrity.”
As you might imagine, at the Ukiah Police Department (UPD) we often talk about how we deliver service to our community, and how important ethics and integrity are in our profession. We pride ourselves on teaching our entire staff a set of core values that guide our decision-making: Safety, Professionalism and Community Service.
If you take a moment to look, you’ll see our core values everywhere. They are part of our logo, included on the side of our patrol cars, and printed on our business cards, police reports and memos. They also hang on posters throughout our department. These core values are present—both visibly and as part of our training programs—to remind us of how to conduct ourselves as we serve our Ukiah community.
You may not realize that most public safety professionals chose a career of service based on the idea of caring for a community. It is part of why we take time in the midst investigating horrific crimes and arresting lawbreakers to celebrate the little things our public safety professionals do to make our community so great.
So, needless to say, I was thrilled when our department recently received this letter:
Dear Chief Dewey,
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and admiration for two officers [Officer Josh Cooper and Officer Adam Elledge] who responded promptly to a call for assistance with an intruder at my home around 11:50 PM Monday night...
…my neighbor woke me up out of bed saying my patio light (motion-activated) was on and there was a woman reclining in a chair and babbling about something or another. I went to see and asked her to leave. She just shook her head no, and said she was home. She had removed some mail from the mailbox and was reading my magazine, and had otherwise made herself comfortable. Seeing she was not making any sense, I left her there and called the Ukiah Police.
They responded within a few minutes, and first one officer and soon a second were talking to the woman. They calmly talked to her in a non-threatening manner and gradually she cooperated and was asked to get into the officer’s vehicle. The officer explained to me that the situation was over and he would find help for this mentally disturbed person. I was obviously relived and thanked them for their assistance.
They handled what could have been a situation that could have developed into an altercation with professional and compassionate care for both me and the unfortunate woman. I wish I could be more descriptive how well they handled this potentially dangerous situation, but this will have to do.
I commend your officers, your office and their training, and express thanks all around.
Every single day our public safety personnel respond to a host of emergencies and calls for help, which put them in a position to see some of our community’s worst problems. Yet, despite these problems (and sometimes criticism about how they address them), these dedicated people get up and go to work again the next day, because they get tremendous satisfaction out of helping others.
This letter allows me to reflect on how grateful I am that we have committed personnel who care for our community. I am deeply thankful for the courageous, caring approach our officers, firefighters, and dispatchers demonstrate day after day, year after year.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve, please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.